Artist: Robert Loughlin

Wright champions the work of cult artist Robert Loughlin, a storied individual who created a singular body of work that is capturing a continually growing audience.
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I was always on the fringe of everything I did.

Robert Loughlin

Over the course of his lifetime, cult artist Robert Loughlin created a rich body of work. Self-trained, Loughlin moved to New York in the 1980s and became immersed in the art, design and gay subculture. His art exhibits the divergent influences of Dada, graffiti and Pop.

Most famously, Loughlin obsessively painted a repeated image of iconic masculinity: a square-jawed man with dangling cigarette. Rendered over decades on an incredible array of objects, existing art works and surfaces, the face expresses a range of expressions from cool detachment to brooding menace.

Shunning established galleries, Loughlin sold his work exclusively to acquaintances and friends, largely from the 26th Street flea market that he frequented for decades until his untimely death in 2011.

Wright hosted the first-ever auction dedicated to the work of Robert Loughlin. The special sale featured more than 60 lots from the collection of Paul Johnson
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Auction Results Robert Loughlin

What constant elements make up a Loughlin painting?

A sense of a cosmic joke. Not taking anyone or anything too seriously.

An Interview with Robert Loughlin

In 2011, Robert Loughlin was interviewed by Gary Carlson, longtime friend, partner and champion of his work.

Robert Loughlin 1949–2011

Robert Loughlin was a beloved artist and character in the world of design. Born in Alameda, California in 1949, his interest in design flourished at a young age. By the late 1970s, he had opened two stores in San Francisco, being one of the first "pickers" to specialize and create a resale market for mid-century design. In 1980, he relocated to Miami Beach, Florida where he established a third store and also began painting.

After several years, he moved to New York City and opened the Executive Gallery and became immersed in the downtown art scene. He became known for his boisterous, hard-living as much as his design skills; he sourced art and furniture for clients such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe. One of his most impressive finds was a Salvador Dali painting at a thrift shop that he bought for $40. During this time, his iconic imagery of "The Brute," a smoking square-jawed male figure, began appearing all over the city — on found objects including doors, tables, antiques, trash, bottles, skateboards, other works of art, and public spaces alike. "The Brute," an idealized male face, often depicted smoking, recalls the classic, masculine faces of James Dean and Marlon Brando, and is modeled after Loughlin's partner of thirty-one years, Gary Carlson. Loughlin explored the far reaches of this singular imagery, which has since become an icon of gay and outsider culture.

His artworks are collected by institutions such as The Carnegie Museum of Art and among personal collections including the artist Donald Baechler. Tragically, Robert Loughlin was struck by a car near his home in New Jersey in 2011.

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